Computer fix scam cost Madison man $19,000, police say

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A Madison man lost $19,000 to scammers this week after contacting a phony company when his computer locked up.

The scam happened Wednesday to the 57-year-old man who lives on Paus Street, Madison police said.

“It all started when his computer locked up and a message appeared on screen instructing him to contact ‘Microsoft,'” said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

He followed the instructions and called someone who offered to remotely install anti-virus software.

That started the scam in motion.

“He was told money would be refunded, so he provided access to his bank account so the refund could be deposited,” DeSpain said. “But what was supposed to be an $800 deposit showed up as $8,000.”

The victim was then told he needed to pay the company back, and was instructed to purchase gift cards so he could give the card numbers to the scammer.

“He did so by purchasing thousands of dollars in gift cards,” DeSpain said. “He gave the caller their numbers.”

The gift card money was lost, and thousands of dollars more was stolen from his bank account, making for a total loss of $19,000.